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Call Location Technology for Wi-Fi Phone Callers

Aruba Networks : 21 April, 2010  (New Product)
Collaboration between RedSky and Aruba results in call location technology enabling emergency services call centre personnel to pinpoint the exact location of a caller using Wi-Fi based telephones
Aruba Networks and RedSky Technologies have announced a Wi-Fi based emergency call location solution for campus, branch office, and teleworker applications. Pinpointing the location of an E9-1-1 call originating from a Wi-Fi phone is challenging because the user could be on the move. The new solution automatically and accurately locates Wi-Fi phones as they originate E9-1-1 calls, allowing first responders to be dispatched to the correct address, building, and floor.

"Emergency location identification is a key feature sought by all institutions migrating from wired Ethernet to Wi-Fi access, and we believe Aruba offers the only solution with this important feature for all voice clients both local and remote," said Peter Thornycroft, Aruba's Wireless Applications Manager. "The solution works over our campus wireless LANs and Virtual Branch Network solutions for remote offices and teleworkers - and doesn't require any hardware changes to the network. Proving that cutting the cord doesn't mean cutting essential features, this solution brings users the mobility of Wi-Fi, the safety of precise caller location, and toll-quality voice that is uniquely Aruba's."

Voice-over-Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) is growing in popularity, driven by its low cost and the spread of wireless LANs across enterprises and institutions. This growth has prompted regulators to call for Wi-Fi networks to offer the same E9-1-1 services as are mandated for wired phones. In particular, regulators want to more precisely identify the location of E9-1-1 VoWiFi callers. Many end users have delayed retiring wired phones pending the availability of this capability.

Past location solutions have relied on a technique called "IP parsing" which translates the IP address of the closest Ethernet switch or router into a physical location that is relayed to the first responders. The problem with IP parsing is that the location of the E9-1-1 caller may be distant from the location of IP gear, wasting valuable time as responders search for the caller over what could be a wide area.

The solution developed by Aruba and RedSky provides accurate, real-time information about a Wi-Fi caller's location and relays it to the E9-1-1 dispatcher. It works with Aruba's campus, branch office, and teleworker/home worker solutions, and with RedSky's E911 Anywhere service. RedSky is certified for use with Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, and Nortel IP-PBXs.

The three-step location process works as follows:

* Aruba's wireless LAN sends real-time location updates to RedSky E911 Manager as voice clients move on the network. The caller's location is triangulated by processing signal strength and other data from nearby Aruba access points, and forwarded to RedSky;
* RedSky's E911 Manager updates internal, external, and IP-PBX databases with the location of the clients;
* When a voice client dials 9-1-1, E911 Manager provides instructions to the IP-PBX to route the call and notifies internal security personnel with precise location information derived from floor plans of the facility.

The E9-1-1 dispatcher receives the emergency voice call and location updates in real-time, and can direct first responders appropriately to the correct address, building, and floor.

"Previous attempts to locate VoWiFi E9-1-1 callers were inaccurate and unreliable," said Nick Maier, Senior Vice President for RedSky Technologies. "This solution extends RedSky's proven wired voice over IP E9-1-1 location service to VoWiFi. By partnering with Aruba we can offer a best-in-class user location system that works wherever users do - at home, in remote offices, and on the campus. We believe this solution will be a boon to universities, hospitals, and distributed enterprises."
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